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First Rogers ditched, now Birmingham looks to Foster

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Birmingham City Council has launched a research exercise into the library work of Norman Foster, weeks after binning a scheme by his arch-rival Richard Rogers.

A council spokesperson confirmed today that the local authority had been to see Foster's Sainsbury Library at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich to get ideas on style for its building.

The move is likely to anger the Richard Rogers Partnership, whose high-profile rejection from the scheme has been mired in political point-scoring and a radical change in the council's preferred direction for the library.

The local authority originally wanted Rogers to design a landmark scheme to capitalise on the regeneration potential of the Eastside area of Birmingham. It has since decided to concentrate its efforts on a split-site option, which missed out on crucial PFI funding to take it forward (AJ+ 31.08.05).

Council leader Mike Whitby spoke out in glowing tones about the Foster library at a council meeting on Tuesday, but was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

The Robert Sainsbury library was designed by Foster's practice in 1976.

by Rob Sharp

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